Opinion

Transformational challenge prize promises to change dementia lives

Kate Lee, CEO, Alzheimer's Society

Kate Lee, CEO, Alzheimer’s Society and Jonathan Freeman MBE, CEO, CareTech Foundation 

Jonathan Freeman

We are delighted to be working together to galvanise the brightest innovators across the world via a landmark challenge prize.

With a grant from CareTech Foundation, and access to the knowledge and expertise of CareTech plc in delivering personalised care to those with complex needs, our vision of changing the future of dementia care is a step closer to being realised.

Right now, there is strong appetite for greater assistance to combat the general decline in independence a person living with dementia experiences. Over half of us know someone with dementia, and we both know, from personal experience of dealing with dementia in our own families, how tough this can be. Individuals living with dementia, their family members, the people that provide care and the healthcare sector itself are crying out for real tangible solutions now.

Partnering with Nesta Challenges and a range of international delivery partners including CareTech, our aim is that this challenge prize becomes the ideal platform to raise the profile of dementia and the challenges those affected by the condition face.

This ambitious project has the potential to deliver a positive life-changing innovation. This partnership between Alzheimer’s Society and CareTech Foundation is much more than a simple transaction; this is a big programme with international interest and long-term impact. With our collective visions, the prize can create the conditions to develop something that will change the world.

In creating a space where innovation and solutions can develop and grow, the aim of a challenge prize is to provide help for today and hope for the future. With a pool of initial proposals being whittled down to one winner, Alzheimer’s Society’s expertise will be on hand throughout to ensure that the research and innovation stays relevant and practical solutions are part of the end result. In creating a level playing field where there is space for innovators working on their passions, we hope to inspire interest from everywhere and allow innovators to test, apply and quantify their solutions.

There is a real opportunity to create something unique that will transform assistive technologies to best support people affected by dementia. Working in partnership together will positively impact on the lives and care of those living with dementia, their families, friends and carers everywhere.

Recognising the positions of both Alzheimer’s Society and CareTech Foundation – one as the leading voice in dementia and the other rooted in supporting the care sector, carers and those living in care – together we aim to rejuvenate and elevate the thinking around dementia to create relevant, personalised and adaptive technology that works. With CareTech’s insight of the commercial market as well as lived experience, we can give all the innovations the most competitive chance to succeed.

The key to this success is the involvement of people with lived experience of dementia. The experience CareTech plc has caring for the most vulnerable of people with complex needs helps us to understanding different symptoms and stages of dementia, as well as the many nuances that come from personal experience. With this insight, we can ensure the right perspectives, views and needs are included in the design and scoping of the ideas generated through the prize.

A challenge prize in this space could positively transform the way we live and the way our two organisations offer our services. The prospect of developing a new technology that could help solve a multitude of problems faced by people affected by dementia and other people with cognitive vulnerabilities is extraordinarily exciting. This is bigger than all of us; it has the potential to be life-changing now and for future generations.

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